Lot 60–D 224, Box 58: D.O./Canv.B/JSC Mins.
Informal Minutes of Meeting No. 2 of the Joint Steering Committee Held at 4, p.m., October 2, at Dumbarton Oaks
|Present:||Dr. Koo, Dr. Hoo, and Dr. Liu of the Chinese group;|
|Mr. Jebb and Professor Webster of the British group;|
|Mr. Stettinius, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Grew, and Mr. Pasvolsky of the American group.|
|Mr. Hiss also present, as secretary.|
(This meeting of the Committee was called in order that Dr. Koo might be given an explanation of the status of the matter of voting in the Council and of other open items.)
In calling the meeting to order, Mr. Stettinius said that he would be glad to go into details on the subject of the status of the question of voting in the Council. He suggested that he might state the matter briefly and then give Dr. Koo an opportunity to ask any questions as to details. He said that the matter had been given a great deal of consideration and study. The reason that agreement had not been reached was that the Soviet group had felt that one of the great powers should at all times be entitled to vote even if involved in a dispute. The British and American groups took a contrary view. Various approaches to the question had been tried but had not been successful.
Mr. Stettinius went on to say that consideration of this matter had, of course, not been the sole cause of the delay in conclusion of the Soviet phase of the conversations. A great deal of the delay was due [Page 852] to routine difficulties of communication between Washington and Moscow and to the delays incident to translation from English into Russian and vice versa. As a result of consideration given to the subject of voting in the Council it had been decided that this subject would be left open for further consideration.
Mr. Stettinius said that a further aspect of the voting question was whether decisions of the Council should be on the basis of a simple majority or of a two-thirds majority. He said that because of inability to agree on the major issue of the right of a party to a dispute to vote, no definitive consideration had actually been undertaken of the question of the majority which should be required for action by the Council. He said that the American group would approach the question of the appropriate majority with an entirely fresh mind.
Mr. Stettinius then asked Mr. Jebb if the latter wished to supplement the statement which had been made. Mr. Jebb said that he might add that in regard to the question of a two-thirds as opposed to a simple majority, the British prefer the two-thirds formula as more likely to be favored by the smaller nations, whereas the Russians had favored a simple majority and he had understood that the American position was somewhat undecided. He added that as to the question of unanimity, his group had felt that it might be desirable to provide that unanimity of the great powers would be necessary except in cases where one of the great powers was involved in a dispute.
Mr. Pasvolsky said that the discussion as to the unanimity rule had indicated the general feeling that unanimity of the great powers would be required on all substantive questions, but would not be required on procedural questions. He added that there had been an attempt to define the functions of the Council for which unanimity would be required and that the general consensus had been that it would be best to state the principle of unanimity in general language.
At this point, Dr. Hoo inquired whether unanimity would be destroyed if one of the permanent members of the Council were to abstain from voting. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that consideration had been given to providing for voluntary abstention which would not affect the decisions of the Council. In other words, the abstaining member would be bound by the decision taken by the Council. Mr. Pasvolsky said that the principle of unanimity made it impossible to provide that either the majority or the two-thirds formula, whichever might be finally adopted, would apply to “those present and voting.” However, it seemed possible to provide that voluntary abstention by one of the permanent members might be a recognized exception to the principle of unanimity.
Dr. Hoo asked whether the abstaining member would be bound to provide military forces if the Council decided to authorize the use of military forces. Mr. Jebb and Mr. Pasvolsky replied in the affirmative. [Page 853] Mr. Pasvolsky added that the reference in the agreed proposals to agreements which are to be negotiated on the subject of the provision of military forces might contain reservations in case of voluntary abstention. However, the general proposition would be that an abstaining member would be bound by the decision of the Council. Dr. Hoo said that in that event he thought there would be no point to abstention. Mr. Pasvolsky said he thought there might well be a case in which a power would have no objection to proposed action being taken but would not wish to go on record as favoring such action. Mr. Jebb said that the British group is inclined to take the same view that Dr. Hoo had expressed, namely, that there would be no point in providing for voluntary abstention. Mr. Pasvolsky observed that it might be found desirable to have a provision for voluntary abstention so that it might be applicable to the question of a permanent member being a party to a dispute.
Mr. Webster stated that the matter of voluntary abstention affects the whole question of a majority, especially if a two-thirds majority is decided upon. Mr. Pasvolsky said that he felt that for such purposes the abstaining member would have to be counted as if it had voted in the affirmative.
Dr. Koo asked whether the present status of the matter of voting in the Council could properly be summarized by the statement that no aspect of the matter had been agreed to and that the entire matter remains open. Mr. Stettinius answered in the affirmative.
Dr. Koo then inquired whether when the Russian representatives spoke of the necessity of a party to a dispute being able to vote they referred only to the permanent members on the Council. Mr. Jebb and Mr. Stettinius replied in the affirmative. Mr. Jebb added that that aspect of the matter constituted one of the British objections to the Soviet point of view. He said that it meant that there would be one rule for the great powers and another for the small powers. Mr. Pasvolsky observed that the arrangement could be made to apply both to small and large powers but that it really made little difference whether a non-permanent member engaged in a dispute would be permitted to vote or not since such a member would not have the power of veto. Dr. Hoo observed that if the non-permanent member’s vote is required to make up a majority its inability to vote might make a difference. The others present expressed their agreement with Dr. Hoo’s observation.
Dr. Hoo then said that he was not quite clear as to whether the present document, which authorizes member states not represented on the Council to participate in discussions affecting their interests, authorizes such members to vote in the Council in such cases. The others present replied that it had not been intended that such members would be entitled to vote in such cases. Mr. Jebb said that their votes [Page 854] would be precluded by the rule that parties to a dispute should not vote. Dr. Hoo remarked that there might be discussions in the Council affecting the interests of such members which did not involve an actual dispute. The others present replied that even in such cases it had not been intended that members specially attending sessions of the Council would be entitled to vote. Dr. Hoo observed that this was quite different from the provisions of the Covenant of the League. Mr. Jebb thought that in practice the League procedure was not very different.
Mr. Dunn said that he thought it might be helpful if it were made clear that the basis of the Soviet position is their insistence on the importance of the principle of the unanimity of the permanent members of the Council. Mr. Jebb agreed that this was the basis of the Soviet position. He said that the Soviets thought is that without the unanimity of the great powers the Organization would collapse.
Dr. Koo inquired as to the position of the American group on this matter. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that the American group had initially thought that it might be possible to enumerate those functions of the Council as to which unanimity would be required. They had found upon further consideration that that was not feasible. Apart from the question of voting in disputes the American group had been tending to take the position that a mere majority vote would be sufficient on procedural matters and that unanimity of the great powers would be called for on substantive matters.
Dr. Koo then asked what the British position is on the subject of voting in the Council. Mr. Jebb replied that the British group supports the rule of unanimity, without prejudice to the British position, which he had described earlier, as to voting by states involved in disputes. Mr. Pasvolsky said that no differences at all had arisen in the earlier phase of the conversations as to the principle of unanimity except in the case of disputes involving one of the permanent members. Mr. Jebb agreed that all the groups had seen eye to eye on the question of voting in the Council in all respects except that of voting by parties involved in a dispute and except possibly as to the question of a majority as opposed to a two-thirds vote.
Dr. Koo said that earlier in the meeting there had been mention of various formulae which had been considered. Mr. Stettinius replied that the joint formulation group had endeavored to find some common answer to the question. Mr. Dunn pointed out that these efforts of the joint formulation group have never been considered by the chairmen of the respective groups and Mr. Jebb remarked that the formulae had not received encouragement from any quarter.
Mr. Pasvolsky said that the joint formulation group had explored the possibility of separating those functions as to which unanimity would be required from those in which parties to a dispute should not [Page 855] vote. He said that an attempt had been made to draw a distinction between those functions stated in section A of Chapter VIII and those functions stated in section B of the same Chapter. He said that under such a distinction all questions of a juridical or of a semi-juridical character, in other words, all phases of pacific settlement, would call for exclusion from voting by parties to a dispute. On the other hand, the use of force, which is not a juridical or quasi-juridical matter, but a political question, would call for application of the rule of unanimity of the great powers. He said that such a distinction was a possible line of approach. Dr. Koo inquired whether he understood clearly that such a distinction would exclude the votes of parties to a dispute up to the stage at which enforcement action would be taken. The others present answered in the affirmative. Mr. Pasvolsky said that under such a view the Council could take all steps except those relating to enforcement, without the party to the dispute being able to vote but that after an actual recommendation had been made by the Council and had not been carried out by the parties to the dispute, the matter would then have reached the stage of political and military considerations. He emphasized the fact that this was not a considered formula but the result of exploratory discussions.
Mr. Jebb pointed out that this distinction had not found favor in any high quarter.
Dr. Koo asked whether any other formulae had been considered. Mr. Dunn and Mr. Jebb said that consideration had been given to other formulae but that they had not had much merit. Mr. Pasvolsky mentioned a possible formula whereby the Council might be authorized to request a party to a dispute not to vote. He said that after consideration of this possibility the joint formulation group had rejected it and had fallen back on the idea of an automatic rule for excluding a party from voting.
Mr. Jebb and Mr. Webster mentioned another formula which had been considered, namely, requirement of the unanimity of the entire Council except for a member which was a party to a dispute. They said that this formula, also, had not seemed to have much merit.
Dr. Koo then asked whether the formula which Dr. Pasvolsky had described at some length was the main compromise formula. Mr. Jebb said that he did not feel it could be called even a main compromise formula. Mr. Stettinius observed that the formula under reference had never been officially presented to him or to the other two chairmen. He said that he had mentioned this formula to the President and to the Secretary when he had reported that the groups were searching for some formula, but he doubted whether the President or the Secretary would even remember the terms of this formula at the present time.[Page 856]
Dr. Koo said that his group regards the question of voting in the Council as of very great importance. He said that in a certain sense it considers it to be the root of the whole question of an organization.
Dr. Koo then inquired as to the other points which remain open. Mr. Stettinius mentioned the subjects of territorial trusteeship, the liquidation of the League of Nations, and the statute of the court. Mr. Pasvolsky added that the question of initial membership also remains open. He said that the subject of trusteeship, which involves the matter of succession to the mandate system, had not been discussed at Dumbarton Oaks. He said that perhaps in the near future it might be possible to arrange for an exchange of papers on this important subject. He went on to say that in addition to the topics mentioned there will be questions of amplification and clarification of the present document when the stage of the actual drafting of the Charter of the Organization is reached. He pointed out that in the drafting of the present document there had been a conscious attempt to reduce all questions to their barest essentials. He mentioned the fact that the present document contains no preamble, although one will be needed for the Charter itself. He suggested that perhaps there might be incorporated in the preamble to the Charter some of the points which Dr. Koo had brought up at the plenary session this morning. He emphasized the fact that the present document had been deliberately limited to setting forth the essential machinery and procedure of an organization.
Mr. Jebb said that Sir Alexander Cadogan understood the phrase “several other questions are still under consideration”, as used in the note at the end of the present document, includes only the statute of the court and the question of initial membership. He said that the other things which had been referred to by Mr. Stettinius and Mr. Pasvolsky have not so far been considered, and, therefore, are not now under consideration. Mr. Pasvolsky said that the language of the note could be interpreted either narrowly, as Mr. Jebb had indicated, or more broadly.
Dr. Koo inquired as to whether the question of initial membership means the countries which will be invited to the general conference. Mr. Jebb answered in the affirmative and added that there had not been entire agreement on this question. Mr. Pasvolsky said that there had been complete agreement that the initial members should include all of the United Nations but that question had arisen with respect to those nations which are usually known as the “Associated Nations” and some question had also arisen as to the possibility of adding to this latter group. He felt that the question of initial membership would have to be settled at the diplomatic level. Mr. Stettinius mentioned Turkey as one particular country which had been considered. He said that the British and American position favors the [Page 857] inclusion of the United Nations and the Associated Nations whereas the Soviet position had favored restricting the initial members to the United Nations. Mr. Dunn felt that this matter could more advantageously be settled in the future in the light of the circumstances that will exist at the time when the general conference is called. The others present seemed to agree with this view.
Dr. Koo said that this group had been glad to see the provision in the document which specifies that France is to be brought in as a permanent member in due course. He said that this is entirely in harmony with the view of the Chinese group. He inquired as to the meaning of the phrase “in due course”. Mr. Stettinius replied that this means as soon as the French people are able to elect a government which is plainly one of their own choosing. Mr. Dunn said that in the previous phase of the conversations no specific formula on this matter had been developed. Mr. Pasvolsky said that he felt that this point, too, would require diplomatic discussion. Mr. Dunn said that he thought that the phrase “in due course” means as soon as it is possible to realize the objective of adding France as a permanent member.
Professor Webster pointed out that in the prior phase of the conversations there had been some question as to whether the determination of the time when France should be admitted to permanent membership should be by the four permanent powers or by some other procedure. Mr. Pasvolsky said that of course the whole question might be settled before the Council came into existence. Mr. Stettinius said that the informal understanding arrived at during the previous phase of the conversations had been that the four powers will have to agree before any action on this matter is taken, although such agreement might be either before or after the Organization is set up.
Dr. Koo said that he noticed that the very first page of the agreed proposals states that the Organization should be established under the title of “The United Nations”. He asked whether this means that it is proposed that the Organization be called “The United Nations”. The others present answered in the affirmative. Mr. Pasvolsky observed that, of course, throughout the Charter itself the word “Organization” could be used in most cases in order to avoid awkwardness of drafting.
Dr. Hoo then referred to the question of the liquidation of the League of Nations and asked if any consideration had been given to the question as to where the seat of the new Organization would be. Mr. Stettinius replied in the negative. He said that this matter had not been discussed at Dumbarton Oaks. However, he said, there had been some private discussions of this matter and that he thought [Page 858] that the respective chiefs of state might wish to exchange views on this subject so that they could be informed of each other’s opinions on the matter by the time the general conference is held. He thought that the conference itself would have to decide this matter and that the chiefs of state would only be in a position to make suggestions for the consideration of the conference.
Dr. Hoo then said that he assumed that some of the organizations of the League would have to be taken over by the new Organization. This, he felt would be a matter which would have to be discussed. The others present expressed their agreement with this view. Mr. Pasvolsky added that there would also have to be discussed the question of the renegotiation of treaties relating to the League. Mr. Stettinius said that this entire question had not been discussed at Dumbarton Oaks. Mr. Pasvolsky observed that the liquidation of the League raises very difficult legal questions. He said that there are no precedents for such action. Dr. Hoo thought that the Bank of International Settlement presented somewhat similar problems. He added that he felt that various of the social and hygiene sections of the League, the Opium Office, and other bodies should be preserved and would have to be taken over by the new Organization. Mr. Jebb observed that just prior to the departure of the British group the British Foreign Office had set up a committee to study the question of the liquidation of the League and that those studies will now be pursued. He suggested that perhaps the other countries interested might undertake similar studies. Mr. Pasvolsky expressed his agreement with this suggestion and added that it might perhaps be possible to exchange papers on this subject in the future.
Mr. Webster pointed out that there are two separate questions involved. First, there is the question of taking over the assets of the League. Secondly, there is the question of the numerous treaties relating to the League. He thought that the first question might prove to be a comparatively simple one, but he felt that the other one is a more difficult juridical problem. He wondered whether it would prove possible to settle the second question by some general formula. He pointed out that some of the treaties have lapsed and that some involve the enemy powers. He thought that the jurists of the various nations will have to study this question carefully.
At this point Mr. Stettinius returned to the subject of the location of the seat of the Organization. He suggested that when Dr. Koo sees President Roosevelt the matter might be discussed informally. He remarked that he thought that in general President Roosevelt would like to explore the possibility of some mobility in this connection.
Mr. Pasvolsky then inquired whether there were any questions which Dr. Koo would like to bring up. Dr. Koo said that he had been about [Page 859] to ask what the schedule of business would be for tomorrow. Mr. Stettinius said that he had had in mind that Dr. Koo might wish to make a general statement at the plenary session scheduled for tomorrow and that he might wish to bring up specific points which the Chinese group feel have not been adequately covered in the present document. Mr. Jebb suggested that such questions might then be referred to some smaller committee. Mr. Stettinius expressed his agreement with this suggestion and Dr. Koo said that this was also in accord with the views of the Chinese group. He thought that perhaps the suggested small committee might consider these matters tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Stettinius said that he would wish Mr. Dunn, Mr. Grew, and Mr. Pasvolsky to represent him on any such committee. Mr. Jebb said that he, Mr. Webster, and Sir George Sansom would represent the British group, with Mr. Gage as secretary. Dr. Koo said that he thought he might like personally to attend the initial meetings of such a committee and that he would wish to have Dr. Hoo with him. Mr. Stettinius said that if Dr. Koo planned to attend the meeting he would also hope to be present.
Dr. Koo then proceeded to list certain points which he hoped might be discussed further. He said that in the first place he would like a discussion of certain general principles which he thought it would be very useful to insert in the Charter of the Organization for the general guidance of the Assembly and the Council in the settlement of disputes. Secondly, he thought that it would be helpful to define in some manner the three terms “breaches of the peace”, “threats to the peace”, and “acts of aggression”. He thought that it would be desirable to give some indication of the kind of acts or situations which are obviously breaches of the peace or acts of aggression. This, he thought, would make it plain to the world that if any power were to take this or that action it would thereby subject itself to action by the Council. He did not propose that such a list be exhaustive. He noted in this connection that the American paper had set forth instances of this kind. Third, he thought that it might be desirable to add some assurance in regard to the maintenance of the political independence and of the territorial integrity of member states. He said that the Chinese group thinks that such an assurance would be very useful in promoting confidence in the Organization on the part of the smaller states. Fourth, he said that the Chinese group would like to submit its views on the subject of voting in the Council. Fifth, he would like to raise the question of an international air force, present the Chinese views on this subject and obtain the reaction of the other groups. Sixth, he would like to bring” up the question of what is usually [Page 860] referred to as peaceful change. He said that he had noted that this principle seemed to be embodied in the present document.
Mr. Stettinius said that he thought it would be helpful if Dr. Koo could set forth these, and any other questions he may wish to raise, in tomorrow morning’s plenary meeting and that then these matters might be referred to a smaller group or groups for more detailed discussion. Dr. Koo said that he proposed at the morning plenary session merely to state his views in general without much detail. Mr. Stettinius said that in that event he thought it would be appropriate for the American and British groups to make their own comments on the Chinese views in the later, more detailed discussions.
Mr. Stettinius then asked Dr. Koo whether there seemed any likelihood that toward the end of the week questions might be encountered which would result in delay. Dr. Koo said that he is already in communication with Chungking and that this group is desirous of avoiding delay. He said that he would like to complete the conversations at an early date, perhaps by Saturday. In any event, he was hopeful of prompt progress.
With respect to the question of an international air force, Mr. Jebb thought that a special military group might be appointed which could meet tomorrow afternoon at the same time that the joint formulation group would have its meeting.
Mr. Pasvolsky then inquired as to whether the mechanics of publication had been worked out so as to permit publication of the agreed proposals on October 9. Mr. Jebb said that he did not think it would be necessary to publish at the same time the present document and any document that developed out of the current phase of the conversations. However, Mr. Dunn and Mr. Pasvolsky thought that it would be most desirable to have both papers published simultaneously.
Dr. Koo said that if the present phase of the conversations can be concluded by, say, Saturday, he might perhaps communicate the results of the conversations to Chungking by means of the American Army facilities to which Mr. Stettinius had referred at the first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee. Mr. Stettinius inquired whether the Chinese group had yet forwarded to Chungking the text of the agreed proposals. Dr. Liu said that only a summary had been sent to Chungking. Dr. Koo added that it was, however, a rather complete summary. Mr. Stettinius said that he would be glad to make available the Army communication facilities for transmission of the complete text if Dr. Koo so desired.
Mr. Jebb then said that if a supplemental statement is to be published on Monday, October 9, he would have to consult London about the matter.
After some further discussion it was agreed that the smaller committee which is to discuss in detail the points raised by Dr. Koo should [Page 861] meet tomorrow afternoon and that it should be called the joint formulation group. Mr. Stettinius said that he would wish Mr. Hackworth to be brought in as a member of this group whenever his services might be needed. Mr. Dunn said that he hoped that the joint formulation group might have something to report to the Joint Steering Committee by Wednesday morning.